Inter Faith/ Caste Marriages – UPSC GS1

Historical efforts to promote Inter Faith / Caste Marriages:
  • Keshub Chandra Sen’s efforts: led to a colonial law allowing people of different backgrounds to marry according to their ‘rites of conscience’.
  • The Special Marriage Act, in 1954: Took away the colonial law’s requirement to renounce religion.
Various Court Decisions on the Issue:
  • Hadiya case by SC :
    • “The right to marry a person of one’s choice is integral to Article 21 (right to life and liberty) of the Constitution”.
    • “The choice of a partner whether within or outside marriage lies within the exclusive domain of each individual. Intimacies of marriage lie within a core zone of privacy, which is inviolable”.
    • The Supreme Court held that a person’s right to choose a religion and marry is an intrinsic part of her meaningful existence. Neither the State nor “patriarchal supremacy” can interfere in her decision.
  • Allahabad High Court has said the right to live with a person of one’s choice is intrinsic to the right to life and personal liberty irrespective of religion.
  • Supreme Court (SC) in Lata Singh v. State of U.P. (2006) ordered “stern action” against all those threatening or carrying out threats against couples.
    • The Supreme Court reiterated the fact that inter-caste marriages are not banned as per Hindu Marriage Act and are in the national interest. It is illegal to stop them in any way.
  • The SC in the khap panchayats case observed that no third party has the right to interfere between two consenting adults.
    • It said, “When two people get into wedlock, no one should interfere. Neither parents, society, khap or panchayat… no one at all,”.
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